Artistic macro photography?

Discussion in 'Macro Photography' started by darinwc, Feb 12, 2007.

  1. darinwc

    darinwc Subscriber

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    Anyone have examples of what they would consider artistic macro photography?

    Most macros I have seen fall in two catagories. 1. Insects, which are are very exotic when viewed up close but otherwise ordinary. 2. Small man-made objects, like watches and circut boards. None of the macro photos have stirred an emothional respose in me.

    In fact I challenge readers to find any macro photo which would be considered more artistic than technically difficult.
     
  2. Michel Hardy-Vallée

    Michel Hardy-Vallée Membership Council Council

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    Weston's work. Where can I claim my prize for winning the challenge?
     
  3. darinwc

    darinwc Subscriber

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    For the record I would consider westons peper as too large to be considered a macro, but others may differ.
     
  4. darinwc

    darinwc Subscriber

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    ah I see you beat me to it. I havent seen to much of his other work. Anything else on the small scale that is worthwhile?
     
  5. Shawn Dougherty

    Shawn Dougherty Member

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    I suggest you look a little harder, try Edward and Brett Weston, Ansel Adams, Paul Caponigro, Ruth Bernard, Michael A. Smith, Paula Chamlee, and Minor White to start. You'll enjoy it. Best. Shawn
     
  6. David H. Bebbington

    David H. Bebbington Inactive

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  7. Struan Gray

    Struan Gray Member

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    Felice Frankel:

    http://web.mit.edu/felicef/

    I am not as enthusiastic about the "Envisioning Science" book as most reviewers (it's very thin, too repetitive of her greatest hits, and padded with half-baked lessons in photography). But, she is an artist in every sense of the word.
     
  8. Michel Hardy-Vallée

    Michel Hardy-Vallée Membership Council Council

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    Not the peppers, but his artichokes in particular are taken much closer than the peppers. Weston made a whole salad, not just peppers.
     
  9. Robert Hall

    Robert Hall Subscriber

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    The upcoming issue of Emulsion Magazine is devoted to macro photography. Having seen the proofs, I would highly recommend getting a copy.
     
  10. Peter Rockstroh

    Peter Rockstroh Member

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    Check out Karl Blossfeldt`s work. Fantastic botanical macro. Andreas Feininger also produced some very interesting images. Spanish photographer Emili Godez was doing stunning macro work in the 1930`s
    Today I haven`t found many impressive B&W macro photographers, but there`s quite an array of people doing color work. Rosamond Wolff Purcell is a great example.
    Tough challenge.

    Peter
     
  11. Anupam Basu

    Anupam Basu Member

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    I am not sure what fits this category of "artistic" - black and white, barn doors? What you are saying about insect photography could be applicable to any wildlife photography - do you find any wildlife photography done in color "artistic."

    Personally I do both extremes. Nowadays, shooting closeups (mostly insects) is about the only time I shoot color and small format. Everything else is BW medium or large format. I feel I don't try as much to be artistic while shooting insects - perhaps because of the technical challenges that you mention - but they come out quite satsfying nevertheless. Every kind of photography (every kind of art) has its own set of challenges, conventions, rules - entire language games within which they function - taking the language games of barn doors or peppers and imposing it on damselflies is arbitrary. That said, here are a couple of my shots which I quite like as closeups - I did not go out of my way to make them artistic but they came out nice anyway. Now we must decide which language game they fit.

    -Anupam

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  12. David H. Bebbington

    David H. Bebbington Inactive

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    I think the distinction is quite clear - technical and scientific macro work calls for the maximum amount of factual information in a picture, which in turn calls for high sharpness, deep focus and flat lighting (as does technical photography of any kind). An artistic approach would (or at least could) move away from any or all of these and aim to communicate emotion rather than fact.

    Regards,

    David
     
  13. Anupam Basu

    Anupam Basu Member

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    I thought the first post in this thread was talking about "macro photography" and whether it can be artistic - how does "technical and scientific macro work" come into this? Did I misunderstand the subject under discussion?

    -Anupam
     
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  15. Taurus 8

    Taurus 8 Member

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    I'm keenly reading this thread, trying to learn as much about Macro as I can...just got a Kiron 105mm f/2.8 and I think my first task will be to shoot a decent enough photo for my Avatar!

    John
     
  16. David H. Bebbington

    David H. Bebbington Inactive

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    What I meant was that technical and scientific macro work is meant to be (and is) completely non-artistic (i.e.factual) and therefore uses a certain style, which, however, is not the only possible style - I was suggesting that a different approach could be more artistic.

    Regards,

    David
     
  17. Anupam Basu

    Anupam Basu Member

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    The first photo in my post above was made with the Vivitar avatar of that lens - I just love its sharpness and smooth out of focus rendition. Also one of the best handling lenses I've owned.

    -Anupam
     
  18. Mark H

    Mark H Member

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    B&W Macro

    I've tried to capture some abstract floral shots...here are 3 images of a Datura plant from bud stage to seed pod.
     

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  19. DannL

    DannL Member

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    Nice work, Mark. I was at a point in my life were I needed some inspiration. Thank you.


    Below is a Cicada Killer Wasp who met his demise in my garden. I placed his carcass on a pin, where he dried quite nicely. I took a 8x10 LF camera and added several tiffen close-up lenses and loaded the camera with Ilford MGIV RC paper. I lit the wasp up with a 250W halogen spot light and took the long exposure required to create a good paper negative. The rest was accomplished on the computer. Sadly for the wasp he spent too much time under the spot light and caught fire. A gastly smell. We live and we learn. So, can this be considered artistic macro?
     
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  20. Dan Fromm

    Dan Fromm Member

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    No, incompetence passed off as art.
     
  21. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    wasn't technically difficult
    just used a graflex slr with makeshift
    diopters/lenses, raked the bellows all the way out
    and exposed expired film .....

    don't know if it (they) are artistic either,
    i was just having fun :smile:

    john
     
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  22. greyhoundman

    greyhoundman Member

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    Close enough? :smile: I definitely wasn't shooting for science.

    [​IMG]
     
  23. catem

    catem Member

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    O.K. I'll join in...
    As Spring is round the corner and the sap begins to rise :smile:
    I know the subject matter itself isn't original (an amaryllis) tho this is closer than I've seen.
    DoF is intentional...
    & Just to show I sometimes shoot colour aswell :smile:
    edit: forgot to say about the artistic/scientific bit - I don't know about artistic but I wasn't aiming for max dof or detail - the first one is just something about that brief time in the reproductive span, the second one I wanted to lose almost entirely to blocks of colour with the smallest possible amount in focus. I wanted something a little mysterious and awesome and these are meant to be printed large - especially the second one.
     

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  24. darinwc

    darinwc Subscriber

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    Glad to see this thread is still alive.
    Heres a little more of my thoughts...
    Insects: The problem with insects is that we, as humans, have a hard time relating to them. You cant read the emotion on an insect, you cant tell what it is thinking. So when i look at a macro of an insect, i feel nothing. In contrast, when I see a photo of say a lion, I can tell if it is relaxed or ready to pounce.
    Fuzzy flowers: I am so friggin tired of fuzzy flowers. Well i've never been a fan of abstract art. So I guess i am a little biased. But again, i see a pic of a fuzzy flower and I feel nothing.

    Hardships of macro: macro photography is not easy. i'm sure that many photographers are delighted just to get one or two decent shots. Maybee the rigors of getting the image distract from the idea of communication.

    Oh, BTW one of the examples posted previously was of a dandelion with one seed left. I liked this very much and it reminds me of my daughters and when I was young.
     
  25. Andy K

    Andy K Member

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    Would this qualify?
     
  26. darinwc

    darinwc Subscriber

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    Are you serious?